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Been to TFL and Danko, Manresa or Cyrus worth the trip?

Will be back in SF at the end of April for a followup interview - I have two whole free days (in addition to the interview days) in the city and a car. I'm definitely going to The Dining Room this time around, but I'm trying to decide where to go for my second night. I've read many reviews and menus and the ones that "wow" me the most are Masa, Jardenier, Manresa, and Cyrus.......though I must admit I'm a tad intrigued by Coi and Redd as well.

All things being equal, not worrying about distance - where and why?

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  1. Since you seem to be interested in technique and creativity, I'd skip The Dining Room (not that they aren't creative... just not AS creative as these other two) and try Manresa and Coi, which is the order I'd suggest you try them. As for reasons, they are going to be slightly obscure, but I think you'll appreciate them.

    You should go to Manresa because the Chef is a fan of this website: http://www.foodpairing.be/

    You should go to Coi because the Chef wrote this article: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/06/sty...

    And the third reason is that both places will tickle your brain as much as your tongue which is an important component of fine dining.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Paul H

      Manresa, absolutely yes. Chef Kinch is just getting better and better and his tasting menus are extraordinary.

      See here:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5419...

      1. re: lizziee

        .........wow. Okay lizziee, per usual your reviews have sold me.

        1. re: uhockey

          Manresa has long been one of our favorites--we're planning a weekend in Los Gatos later this year, going there and Dio Deka. If you don't want the full tasting menu at Manresa, the three- and four-course regular menus are excellent. I highly recommend the grilled abalone.

      2. re: Paul H

        :-) I quite like the Patterson article.

        I guess my hesitancy with Coi's menu was the sub-par experience with Moto's "experimental" cuisine on my trip to Chicago.....the whole "mg" movement in nice and all, but sometimes the art dominates the taste. On further review of Coi's menu (and a nice pictoral review at Kevineats) I think Patterson's cuisine is more akin to that at Providence, though, than Moto.

        1. re: uhockey

          Patterson's food is very mild MG. So mild, in fact, that if you weren't familiar with some of the techniques, you wouldn't notice. He's a familiar face to foodies here, as he does the shopping for the restaurant himself at the local farmer's markets several times a week.

          1. re: Paul H

            Kinch uses a few MG techniques but it's well balanced and integrated with others. I 3rd or 4th Manresa. All I can say is pine needle ice cream was served.

            1. re: ML8000

              Now I've got to explore Los Gatos to see what else there is to do down there. :-) No way I can argue with so many opinions I respect on this board.

      3. What is the average duration of the Chef's tasting?

        3 Replies
          1. re: Paul H

            I think it goes faster with 2 and takes longer according to how many more. I went with a party of 6 -- almost 5 hours.

            1. re: ML8000

              My party of two was at Coi about two weeks ago, and it was almost exactly three hours from seating to rising. Service was exceptional, as was the food.

        1. I have Manresa res. for May 2, I normally do not like the long, 15 or more courses tasting menus. Most posts on CH seem to have done the tasting menu and think that is where Chef Kinch excels. My question is if the 4-5 course option will still be a great experience that will show us what Manresa is about?

          3 Replies
          1. re: scfinson

            Yes! I also usually dislike long tasting menus and have always ordered the regular 4-course dinner at Manresa, and these meals have been spectacular. Do be sure to try some of the signature dishes. The "...In the Vegetable Garden" starter is perhaps the quintessential Manresa dish and should not be missed.

            Michael

            1. re: mdg

              Plus, you still get to try some of the signature "little things," as they give amuse bouches, etc. with the three- and four-course options.

              1. re: mdg

                Second on all of that. "Into the vegetable garden ..." was the most exciting new dish I've had in years. I'm looking forward to doing the four-course meal next time.

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/548333

            2. Great! Thanks for the responses. I have been wanting to go to Manresa for years and after seeing him win on Iron Chef I made it a priority. Bay Area chefs doing well on Iron Chef as the Aziza chef (one of my favorite SF spots)also won recently.

              1. When I go it'll certainly be the Chef's tasting - after TFL, Trotters, and Providence in the last 5 months I think I'd be doing Kinch an injustice by not placing my experience in his hands. Trying to coordinate time for either 04/30 or 05/01. I thank you all for the opinions and will certainly report back.